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Navy S Marine Corps Medical News
July 21, 2000
Navy and Marine Corps Medical News (MEDNEWS) is
a weekly compendium of news and information
contributed by commands throughout the Navy medical
department. Information contained in MEDNEWS stories
is not necessarily endorsed by Navy Bureau of
Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) , nor should it be
considered official Navy policy.
The BUMED distributes MEDNEWS to Sailors and
Marines, their families, civilian employees and
retired Navy and Marine Corps families. Further
distribution is highly encouraged.
Stories in MEDNEWS use these abbreviations after
a Navy medical professional 's name to show
affiliation: MC - Medical Corps (physician) ; DC -
Dental Corps; NC - Nurse Corps; MSC - Medical Service
Corps (clinicians, researchers and administrative
managers) . Hospital Corpsmen (HM) and Dental
Technician (DT) designators are placed in front of
Contents for this week's MEDNEWS:
- FMF Warfare Specialist Program approved
- Pain management clinic offers alternatives to surgery
- Bethesda docs provide sight in Yemen
- Operational fleet can learn medical regulating
- GW corpsmen put "honor" on display
- TRICARE question and answer
- Anthrax question and answer
- Healthwatch: Skin cancer - protection through early detection
Headline: FMF Warfare Specialist Program approved
From the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
WASHINGTON - The Navy Enlisted Fleet Marine
Force (FMF) Warfare Specialist Program was approved
by the Chief of Naval Operations July 14. Over 9,100
Sailors are eligible for this new designation.
According to Medical Force Master Chief HMCM
Mark R. Weldon (SW) , Sailors serving with the Marine
Corps face unique personal and professional
challenges. To excel in this endeavor is an
accomplishment that will now be recognized on a level
with other Navy warfare communities. The Navy
Enlisted Fleet Marine Force Warfare Specialist
insignia will be an outward recognition of this
important and unique duty, he added.
"While assigned to the Fleet Marine Force,
Sailors not only master the art and science of a
demanding style of warfare, but also learn the skills
of an entirely separate branch of the armed forces, "
Weldon said. "Whether one is assigned to a Marine
Division, a Force Service Support Group, or a Marine
Air Wing, Navy personnel must know how Marines fight,
the weapons they use, and the techniques used to
employ them effectively against harsh resistance . "
In order to be eligible for the program, Sailors
must be permanently assigned to and serve a minimum
of 12 months accumulated with an FMF unit on Type 2
or 4 sea duty. Commanding officers of personnel on 12
month unaccompanied Type 4 sea duty may waive up to
30 days of the time eligibility . Augmented personnel
mobilized to an FMF unit in direct support of the
units ' primary missions are eligible provided they
are deployed for a minimum of 90 consecutive days.
Sailors must also satisfactorily complete the
Physical Fitness Assessment .
Enlisted Selected Reservists must serve a
minimum of 24 months in a Naval Reserve FMF Unit with
satisfactory drill attendance. Additionally, they
must complete two periods of Marine Corps Unit Annual
Training or an equivalent Active Duty Special Work.
Candidates for the program must demonstrate
effective leadership and directing ability, and have
received at least a "promotable" recommendation
during their most recent reporting period. They must
complete the PQS standard for initial qualification
as well as display general knowledge of the commands '
overall organization, mission, assets, employment,
combat systems, and USMC battle skills techniques,
and basic equipment through a written exam, hands on
demonstration of knowledge, and an oral examination.
Those wearing the Fleet Marine Force Ribbon are
still entitled to wear it, but must complete the PQS
and other qualifications to be entitled to wear the
Amplifying information, copies of the OPNAV
instruction and PQS sheets will be available in the
Headline: Pain management clinic offers alternatives
By J02 Luke Johnson, NMC Portsmouth
PORTSMOUTH, Va. - The Naval Medical Center
Portsmouth, Pain Management Clinic is the facility
that many people who suffer chronic pain turn to for
help. The clinic specializes in services that try to
help relieve the pain without an invasive procedure.
This clinic offers the first line of defense for
those who do not want surgery or a last stand for
those that have gone through surgery already.
With an average of about 30 patients a day, the
staff attacks the chronic pain from herniated disc,
failed back surgery syndrome and cancer.
"The clinic takes a multi-disciplinary approach
to treating patients, " said Cmdr. Walter Kidwell,
head of the Pain Management Clinic. This approach
combines different elements of care.
"First we want to try and eliminate or help
relieve the pain of the patient, " said Kidwell. "We
will inject local anesthetics, muscle relaxants or
steroids for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes or
use medications such as anti-inflammatories.
Narcotics are also used in certain cases. "
For chronic back pain sufferers, there is
another method of pain relief available.
"What we do is implant small medical devices in
the body, " Kidwell said. "These devices deliver
small amounts of medication to the spinal area that
helps ease the pain. " This procedure is designed to
help the patient tolerate the pain so they can lead
as much of a normal life as possible .
A large part of combating the pain is the
patient ' s mental state. "The stronger the mind of
the patient, the more likely they are to be able to
cope with the pain. In fact, depression can make the
pain worse, " Kidwell said. In order to combat the
dangers associated with depression, the clinic offers
services that can help strengthen the mind.
"Alternative therapy such as hypnosis, yoga,
meditation and relaxation tapes are used to help
patients who seek this form of therapy. A lot of
people from different backgrounds have different
beliefs and ideas as to what is best for them, " said
"We are one of the largest facilities around,
and people like the treatment options and
professionalism we provide. That ' s our goal, to make
their lives as pain free as possible, " said HM3 Amy
Gorman, a staff member at the clinic.
Headline: Bethesda docs provide sight in Yemen
By JOl (SW) F. R. Keely, NNMC Bethesda
Around the world today, thousands of land mines
wait in silent ambush. Although news of land mines
no longer makes the daily headlines, the
international efforts to clear the mine fields and
provide aid to the victims continues.
Yemen is all too familiar with the crippling
effects of landmines. As a result of a civil war
that took place years ago, landmines have taken the
eyesight and disfigured many civilians .
At the request of Uniformed Services University
for Health Sciences, Capt . Steven Kerrick, MC, and
Cmdr. Matthew Nutaitis, MC, along with three corpsmen
from National Naval Medical Center Bethesda responded
to the urgent need for eye surgeons to train and
teach the doctors of Yemen.
"Our mission was to help land mine victims, and
we saw a lot of them. The people flooded in when the
word got out that American doctors were there to help
the vision impaired, " said HM3 Mathew Legas. "They
waited patiently for hours. "
The team saw 118 patients and completed 26
"It was a busy two weeks with both lectures and
surgeries which stretched the local staff to work far
more hours each day than their normal work schedule
typically included, " Nutaitis said. "There were so
many patients we were just unable to see. "
Plans are underway to return again for another
training visit, taking more supplies and
ophthalmology equipment to help modernize eye care in
Headline: Operational fleet can learn medical
From the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
WASHINGTON - Using the peacetime dividend to
train and educate Sailors about fleet operations is a
vital part of fulfilling the mission of Navy
One such opportunity for training exists with
the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) Medical
The course is offered primarily to those
attached to operational billets or who are expected
to augment such billets with the Marines or shipboard
as part of embarked staff or ship's company.
One of the most popular exercises of the course
involves a three-hour Crisis Action Planning scenario
in which students medically plan for a non-combatant
evacuation operation involving 500 American citizens
trapped in a hostile city.
"Students use what they learn about evacuation
planning, lift assets, interaction with other
services and dealing with key line and staff officers
of the amphibious squadron, ship's company and marine
expeditionary unit to provide a plan for medically
treating combatant and non-combatant casualties, "
said course instructor It. Yousef Aboul-Enein.
"Many of us from Naval Hospital Jacksonville are
augmenting the USS NASSAU (LHA-4) and require this
course, " said Lt. Cmdr. Patricia Rose, MSC.
To bring this course to your command contact Lt .
Tom Phillips , MSC at the Bureau of Medicine and
Surgery, 202-762-3803/3807 DSN 762.
Headline: GW Corpsmen put "Honor" on display
By J03 Paul Newell, USS GEORGE WASHINGTON
Aboard USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN 73) - Jack
Williams, Francis J. Pierce, William R. Charette and
Robert Stanley are probably unfamiliar to most
Sailors in the Navy. But for those with whom they
served, these men and the remarkable sacrifices they
made will live forever in memory. They are four of
the 17 hospital corpsmen whose pictures and Medal of
Honor citations hang on the bulkheads of USS GEORGE
WASHINGTON'S medical ward.
A few of these corpsmen actually lived to
receive America's highest military honor. Most did
not. Sailors who stop by the ward to view the 17
accounts of gallantry will realize how incredible,
almost surreal, each narrative is. Corpsmen aboard
the USS GEORGE WASHINGTON say they want other Sailors
to understand that the corpsmen who came before them
did more than take temperatures and hand out aspirin.
"A lot of people think we have an easy job, "
said HM1 (AW) Richard D.B. Joyner. "But the men whose
pictures hang on these bulkheads prove that we do
what we are trained to do. "
The valor and dedication described on the
bulkhead represents the honor, courage and commitment
dating back to the 19th century, through both world
wars to today.
"Many naval medical facilities and other ships
in the Navy have these same plaques hanging in their
spaces, " Joyner said. "We wanted to do the same and
honor their contributions . "
During a dedication ceremony held in the main
medical ward passageway, the "Medal of Honor Hall"
came to life as the plaques were permanently secured
to the bulkheads.
It is on those bulkheads where patients or passers by
can learn why hospital corpsmen are so proud of their
Headline: TRICARE question and answer
Question: What is the function of the nurse
Answer: Nurse advisors are available in most
regions, by phone, to provide advice and assistance
that will enhance patient decision making about their
health care. They are available 24 hours a day, 7
days a week, and can discuss treatment alternatives,
symptoms, and illness prevention or can advise
whether a situation warrants immediate medical
attention. Any TRICARE-eligible person can use the
service of the nurse advisor.
Headline: Anthrax question and answer
Question: Can the anthrax vaccine be taken by
military members who are pregnant ? What about men
who get vaccinated? Should they delay child-bearing?
Answer: Anthrax vaccine should not be given to
women who are pregnant or who think they may be
pregnant . Vaccinations are routinely deferred until
after then pregnancy, unless immunity is needed
during pregnancy . Tetanus, meningococcal , hepatitis
B, and influenza vaccines , for example, are
specifically recommended for susceptible women during
their pregnancy. As with other vaccines in the U.S.,
specific studies on possible reproductive side
effects from use of anthrax vaccine have not been
performed. However, there has been no evidence of
infertility, miscarriages , or other reproductive
problems with the use of inactivated vaccines.
Because the anthrax vaccine is a sterile, cell-
free (filtered) bacterial vaccine, it is non-
infectious and is not expected to cause any harm to
the fetus. If the anthrax vaccine is inadvertently
given to a pregnant woman, no adverse pregnancy
outcome or fetal harm is expected. If a pregnant
woman is known to have been exposed to anthrax, she
will be given the vaccine as a potential life-saving
Women who believe that they may be pregnant
should inform their health-care provider before
vaccination. Once pregnancy is confirmed, anthrax
vaccinations will be deferred until the woman is no
longer pregnant. Once a woman is no longer pregnant,
deferred anthrax vaccination will resume. A woman can
safely become pregnant any time after vaccination
that she wishes.
Reference: Advisory Committee on Immunization
Practices. General recommendations on immunization.
Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) 1994;
volume 43 (No. RR-1) : pages 20-21;
http : //www. cdc . gov /epo/mmwr /preview /mmwrhtml/ 0002502 7
For all the same reasons mentioned above, there
is no reason for a man to delay fathering a child
after vaccination. A man can safely father a child
any time after vaccination that he wishes.
Headline: Healthwatch: Skin Cancer - protection
through early detection
From USNH Yokosuka Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan - Skin cancer is the most common
form of cancer in the United States, with more than
one million new cases diagnosed in the last year.
Malignant melanoma is the most common cancer killer
among adults between the ages of 20 and 30.
Fortunately, most skin cancers, including
melanoma, can be cured if detected early. It is
recommended that you examine your skin regularly .
Examine your entire body, including your back, your
scalp, the soles of your feet, between your toes, and
the palms of your hands.
Certain individuals are at even higher risk than
others. While malignant melanoma can strike anyone,
people of light complexions are at a far greater risk
than those with darker complexions. Other high risk
factors that contribute to the development of
malignant melanoma include fair skin, blonde or red
hair, blue eyes, large or numerous moles, family
history of melanoma, and excessive sun exposure in
the first 10-15 years of life.
If you see an unusual skin growth or strange
mole, call your Primary Care Manager for an
appointment. If necessary, your health care provider
will then refer you to a specialist .
Protect your skin with sunscreen (SPF-15 or
higher) , by staying out of the sun during peak hours
of the day, and by wearing loose and light-colored
clothing and a protective hat .
Early detection offers the best prevention and
protection from skin cancer.
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telephone 202-762-3218, (DSN) 762, or fax 202-762-